1000s attend Italian nun's beatification in Kenya

2015-05-23 17:21
People attend the beatification ceremony for a missionary nun, Sister Irene Stefani, who died in 1930 while working in Nyeri, 150km from Nairobi, Kenya. (Simon Maina, AFP)

People attend the beatification ceremony for a missionary nun, Sister Irene Stefani, who died in 1930 while working in Nyeri, 150km from Nairobi, Kenya. (Simon Maina, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Kampala - Tens of thousands of people gathered in a central Kenyan town on Saturday to attend the beatification ceremony of an Italian nun who worked for many years in the East African nation.

Up to 100 000 people from all over the world gathered in Nyeri to witness the ceremony at Dedan Kimathi University in which Sister Irene Stefani was declared "Blessed Irene", Kenya's Daily Nation newspaper reported on Saturday.

Millions more watched the event live on television, according to the newspaper.

The ceremony was conducted by Archbishop Polycarp Pengo of Dar-es Salaam, Tanzania, and Archbishop John Njue of Nairobi, Kenya.

Stefani, who belonged to the Consolata Missionary Sisters, first came to Kenya in 1915 and died there in 1930 at the age of 39, according to a website dedicated to her beatification.

Miracle attributed to Stefani

Beatification is the first step toward possible sainthood, and it comes after official verification that a miracle happened after prayers were offered to the candidate. In the case of Stefani, a 1989 miracle in Mozambique - a country she had never visited - was attributed to her.

The miracle reportedly happened when a group of about 270 people in danger of death prayed to Sister Irene "and the little water in the baptismal font, measuring between four and six litres, was multiplied to enable them to drink and wash for four days, before help arrived from outside," the Daily Nation reported, citing a priest in charge of Nairobi's Consolata Shrine.

In Kenya, she was noted for her love and compassion - the reason the locals gave her the nickname "Nyaatha”, which literally means "mother of mercy" in the local Kikuyu language.

During her time in Kenya she also served as Red Cross nurse and treated East African soldiers wounded during World War I.

At Nyeri's Gikondi Catholic parish, where she served for many years as leader of the Consolata Missionary Sisters community, "she remained memorable for her charity toward her sisters, the guests, and anyone who would go to that house for different reasons," according to the website dedicated to her beatification.

Read more on:    kenya  |  religion

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


WATCH: Man films himself going down water slide upside down as things go very wrong…

What is at first an exciting tummy-turning adventure stunt, quickly turns into a scarily bad idea caught on camera. Take a look:


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Conor McGregor: Notorious the trailer
Best date night restaurants in South Africa
WATCH: Ryan Reynolds offers fans a free tattoo in new Deadpool 2 teaser
Should you date your co-worker?
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.